Developing Your Toolkit:  Resources and Best Practices for Mentors and FD Leads

Our collection of mentorship resources highlight the experience and wisdom of our faculty. Find helpful presentation notes, library references and videos here.

We know that mentorship supports academic career development and promotions. If you have a mentor please consider discussing career development, academic promotions and awards. If you do not have a mentor and would like one please connect with your chief or Faculty Development lead.

How to Approach the Relationship and Set Expectations

As you begin to build a mentoring relationship, establishing clear, mutual expectations is beneficial for creating a pattern of productive interactions. Keep these guiding principles in mind and discuss them with your mentorship partner as you develop the tone and context of the partnership.

Guiding Principles of Mentorship

  1. Mentorship is a dynamic, reciprocal relationship leading to positive change both for the career development of the involved individuals and for the cultural development of the department.
  2. Important and necessary factors in successful mentoring relationships include a shared value system and mutual respect.
  3. The DFCM Mentorship Network is designed to complement the important informal mentoring that is already happening. Participation in this process is entirely voluntary. Mentoring in the DFCM is seen as a “no-fault” relationship, and either person has the option of withdrawing at any time, without risk or harm.

Now What? Next Steps to Build the Relationship

Once the context of your mentoring relationship is in place, you can begin to expand and deepen the mentoring relationship. How often do you meet? What do you talk about? Do you communicate in person? Each mentoring relationship takes a unique form depending on the goals, purpose and logistics of the mentorship relationship. Below are tips for initiating regular communication between the mentor and mentee.

Your First Meeting

Your first meeting can simply be a time to get acquainted with one another and may be as short as half an hour. Aim to schedule your first meeting within a few weeks of the initial contact. Arrange a time to meet – for coffee, for lunch, or at an event you both happen to be going to. There are many events that can provide opportunities for mentors and mentees to get together, such as the DFCM Conference, Walter Rosser Day, PriMed Canada, UEC, faculty farewell parties, book club meetings and more. 

When you meet for the first time, it can be helpful to discuss your backgrounds and interests. It may also be a good time to consider topics of discussion and how you would like to meet in the future, including when and how each of you wish to be contacted.  

After your introductory meeting, the mentee must decide if they wish to continue the relationship. If so, they should contact the mentor to arrange a second meeting. Usually within two to three direct meetings, you should have a good idea if the arrangement is something you would like to pursue long-term. Most successful mentoring relationships need at least 18 months to develop, however it is well recognized that some faculty only need several short sessions, especially when they are in the process of making key career or life decisions. 

Video: Important Factors for Effective Mentoring Relationships

Video: How to Handle Challenges in Mentoring Relationships

Related articles:

  1. How Mentor Identity Evolves: Findings From a 10-Year Follow-up Study of a National Professional Development Program (Dorene F. Balmer, PhD, Alix Darden, PhD, MEd, Latha Chandran, MD, Donna D’Alessandro, MD, and Maryellen E. Gusic, MD)
  2. You don’t need a mentor; you need a board of directors (Jonathan Sherbino, MD MEd)
  3. Mentorship perceptions and experiences among academic family medicine faculty: Findings from a quantitative, comprehensive work-life and leadership survey (Barbara Stubbs MD CCFP FCFP Paul Krueger MHSc MSc PhD David White MD CCFP FCFP Christopher Meaney MSc Jeffrey Kwong MD MSc CCFP FRCPC Viola Antao MD CCFP MHSc)